Longest-Surviving Conjoined Twins Die at 68: 'They Couldn't Ask for Anything More,' Says Brother
Ronnie and Donnie Galyon, the longest-surviving pair of conjoined twins ever, have died. They were 68.
The Beavercreek, Ohio-based twins died on Saturday after experiencing “a decline in their health over the last 10 years,” according to Guinness World Records.
“They made 68, and they couldn’t ask for anything more,” brother Jim Galyon told the Associated Press. “Their bodies were tired and it was time.”
Ronnie and Donnie were born joined at the abdomen in October 1951, and stayed that way, as doctors felt that separating them would be too high-risk, Guinness said.
Just before their 63rd birthday, they surpassed the record set by their “heroes” Chang and Eng Bunker, another pair of conjoined twins who lived to be 62 years and 251 days old before they died in 1874.
Ronnie and Donnie, meanwhile, officially broke the Guinness World Records title in 2014, after they turned 63.
“It’s what me and Donnie’s always dreamed about, and we hope to get the ring, because we’ve dreamed about getting this since we were kids,” Ronnie told CBS affiliate WHIO when they set the record.
According to Guinness, the twins may have shared a body, but were not so alike in personality, as one was easy-going while the other was temperamental, and they shared differing views on politics.
As children, they helped earn money to support their family by traveling together in side-shows and carnivals, though they retired in 1991.
For the last decade of their lives, as their health began to decline, Ronnie and Donnie lived with their younger brother Jim, a move that was chronicled in a 2010 TLC documentary.
The move was financed in part with money raised by their community in order to help Jim renovate his home to better accommodate the twins, the Dayton Daily News reported.
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“I am grateful to the community for what they did to help Ronnie and Donnie move into their house,” Jim told WHIO. “They allowed them to live with their family for the last 10 years.”
The family is reportedly arranging a funeral for next week to ensure there’s enough time to build a casket large enough for both Ronnie and Donnie.